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Council moves to consolidate advisers

OCEANSIDE — City Council voted to move forward with a proposal to reduce its number of advisory groups in order to save money in a 3-2 vote on April 20, in which Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no.
The cost-saving proposal will cut down on city staff preparation time and attendance hours at meetings run by advisory group volunteers.
The city currently has 23 advisory groups. The suggested commission consolidations are to combine community relations and housing; economic development and El Corazon; planning, historic preservation and transportation; police and fire and fire code board of appeals; park and recreation and senior citizens; and redevelopment advisory and design review.
By folding the advisory groups together and eliminating the Telecommunications Committee the total number of groups drops from 23 to 15.
Groups with statuary authority that carry the responsibility to make decisions at a state level will not be affected.
Not everyone was in agreement on the proposed regrouping of advisory group responsibilities. Some questioned
the idea of folding together
the Economic Development Commission and El
Corazon Commission and opposed eliminating the Telecommunications Committee.
“People on the committee have background that puts us ahead of the game,” Jimmy Knott, telecommunications commissioner, said. “In these hard economic times we don’t need less volunteers we need more.”
Additional cost-saving suggestions ask that advisory group agendas be posted online and not printed, meetings be held quarterly instead of monthly, meeting summaries include action only minutes, work plans be reduced from annually to biannually, and meetings be held during daytime hours.
There was also some opposition to a few of the meeting cost cutting suggestions. Rex Martin, the Arts Commission chair, said quarterly meetings would reduce the Arts Commission’s efficiency and holding meetings during business hours would not allow many of the present commissioners to attend.
A final suggestion was to reduce the size of commissions to seven regular commissioners and two alternates.
Council members thanked advisory group volunteers for their service and Sanchez credited commissioners with reaching out to the public, getting issues articulated and coming to a common consensus before issues reached council.

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